BRITISH Airways won’t survive the pandemic unless the government introduces Covid-testing at airports instead of controversial quarantines rules, claims the airline boss.
Alex Cruz explained that the airline is “fighting for survival” which has seen air travel plummet as travel restrictions and closed borders damage the industry.
He wrote in a column for The Telegraph: “British Airways can survive, but only if the Government will work with us, rather than against us.”
He added that the airline operated at just five per cent schedule in March, April and May, which has still only increased to 30 per cent now.
Mr Cruz continued: “Airports like our home Heathrow have testing stations set up and ready to go, but their teams are standing idle waiting while our Government sits on its hands.
“Thirty other countries have introduced airport testing to unlock the problem, so my question to the Government is, why can’t we?”
The travel industry is calling for an end to the quarantine restrictions which have all but stopped the majority of travel, as it requires families and holidaymakers to self isolate for two weeks when returning to the UK.
Countries such as France, Spain, Portugal and parts of Greece have all seen the quarantine rules enforced in recent weeks.
Other countries are instead enforcing Covid-19 tests on arrival, which if negative, will allow the person to enter without quarantining.
In a letter to the PM and Rishi Sunak, bosses from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Luton issued an ultimatum giving the Government seven days to scrap quarantine or risk 110,000 job losses.
BA has already warned of 12,000 job losses, and have axed more than 2,000 from their catering firm Do&Co.
Mr Cruz added: “I am doing everything in my power to keep British Airways flying. Others are doing the same. But we need help.”
The airport chief execs warned Boris Johnson that they have already lost £4billion and it could be another four years before travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, The Telegraph reported.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May has begged Boris Johnson for rapid-fire airport testing to replace the 14 day quarantine for passengers.
Mrs May slammed the Government for failing to bring in airport testing, saying the UK is “lagging behind” the rest of the world.
Former PM Tony Blair has also waded in on the row – warning a failure to screen passengers would cripple international trade.
However Mr Johnson warned evidence from Public Health England reveals only seven per cent of cases could be caught by screening passengers on arrival.
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Speaking at a visit to a HS2 site in Solihull, he added: “So 93 per cent of the time you could have a real false sense of security, a false sense of confidence when you arrive and take a test.
“That’s why the quarantine system that we have has got to be an important part of our repertoire, of our toolbox, in fighting Covid.
“What we don’t want to see is reinfection coming in from abroad and quarantine is a vital part of that.”